September 9, 2009

Samurai 7 #8: The Guardians

2004 episode
directed by Toshifumi Takizawa and Hirofumi Ogura
written by Atsuhiro Tomioka
based on the film SEVEN SAMURAI by Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto, Hideo Oguni

(1954 film)


Having escaped the magistrate's forces in the partially flooded caverns beneath and beyond the city, our heroes come across the Shikimori, bizarre mechanical mole men who build electric fuel cells for the city, as well as offer room and board to homeless farmers willing to grow their crops ... all while never speaking and hanging from the ceiling like bats, electric eyes always open. When we learn they also supply fuel cells to the massive cybernetic bandits, in exchange for some of that stolen rice, bitter farmer Rikichi snaps and threatens to break multiple uneasy truces.

After a bit of a stumble last episode, this series is back in top form, establishing a no-win societal scenario where a group of classes are forced to go against their better judgment and work together because it's the only thing that guarantees mutual survival. This is the type of place Kurosawa brought to life so well, where easy answers are hard to come by and one should never be quick to judge. Hell, even Rikichi, during a furious rant, reveals some shadier aspects of his own past.

It's yet another excellent episode with more stunning design work, a healthy blend of tones, solid characters that are settling into some perfect dynamics, and some damn good storytelling.

(series trailer)


(official website)
(anime news network)
(internet movie database)

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